Stylish Restomod: 1960 Dodge Phoenix

Brian BirknerBy Brian Birkner

This fiery red Mopar wears its Phoenix name well with a bright shade of red and immense style. More of a restomod of sorts, this Dodge is clean as a whistle, and features 412 cubic inch V8 heart! Ready to drive, with looks that could “kill” (based on your opinion), this interesting Mopar is offered for $8,000. Take a look at it here on craigslist out of Indianapolis, Indiana.

Just like the exterior, the engine bay is extremely clean, and very well sorted. The 412 cubic inch V8 is clean and well painted. There is no corrosion or rust in sight, and even the coolant hoses, and spark plug wires appear as new. All of this cleanliness comes crashing down due to the use of a few butt-splices off of the MSD coil. A bit of soldering and heat shrink would resolve this minor issue. Taking a closer look at the engine, there is an edlebrock intake manifold fitted, and likely an upgraded carburetor fitted as well. A set of headers have been installed, and a custom dual exhaust has been added as well. The 412 is mated to a famous Mopar push button automatic transmission making this a simple and fun cruiser to enjoy.

Space almost could have been the “final frontier” from the look of this dash. The “cockpit” style dash layout shares some “space age” styling, and there are easily as many buttons on this dash as there was in the Apollo 11. It is unclear how much of this car has been “restored” and what has survived. The interior is nice, but has some minor signs of age. The steering wheel is a bit rough, but being that its black, it’s damage is almost camouflaged. The carpeting and seats are in excellent condition, appearing dark in color, and without apparent flaws.

When it comes to unique, wild, and even borderline painful styling, you know it has to be an old Mopar. In my youth cars like this Phoenix use to be a bit of an eye sore, but now in this modern day and age I crave to see such unique and interesting “modern” art works. If you sit and study every line on this Dodge you will begin to see the interesting and potentially brave styling that has graced this rare to see Phoenix. Red, white, and chrome, this Mopar has at least one body line, or one styling cue that everyone can appreciate. Another easy thing to appreciate is that this Dodge appears rock solid with no apparent flaws in sight. The paint, chrome, and glass, is magnificent looking to need nothing. This Mopar seems like a bargain for its rock solid condition, and its rarity. Are you a fan of the styling of this Dodge Phoenix?

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Comments

  1. BronzeGiant Member

    One of these in light blue freshly restored sold at Auburn 2 years ago for $55,000.000.

    3+
    • Fred W.

      Shows the difference having four doors makes. Personally, I’ve always liked the look of 4 dr. hardtops and once owned a 57 Chevy version.

      This one is not that far from me and if I thought they would take my ’66 T’Bird in trade… however, I don’t think it will go in my garage.

      2+
      • Oingo

        that is a period

        0
    • jdjonesdr

      55 million is a lot for this car, but I still like it.

      Those tires really set it off.

      6+
    • dennis

      Sorry; but that car was perfect and it was a 2 door. No comparison. See the link, sold in 2014. http://www.auctionsamerica.com/events/feature-lots.cfm?Order=auctioned&feature=&collection=&grouping=&category=&SaleCode=OL14&ID=r0010

      3+
      • GOPAR

        Though the styling is similar, this car is a Dodge Dart (first year). The Dart line-up included the Seneca, the Pioneer, and the Pheonix. The car that sold at auction was a full sized top of the line Dodge Polara.

        2+
    • Troy

      http://gatewayclassiccars.com/houston/1960/dodge/dart-S24.html

      $46,995…These dealers dont move much on their prices..

      1+
  2. Rabbit

    I file this along with all late 50’s-early 60’s Mopars: So ugly, it’s gorgeous.

    1+
    • KEN TILLY

      fugly!

      0
    • Troy

      I will agree with you,in 1959 to me they ruined the Dodge and Plymouth’s..

      But the Chrysler / DeSoto’s were still the best looking cars from 59-62 time period..The 300 fastest car for those years too..Oh the recorded times were done with zero traction,those cars were very quick..A 58 ran high 12’s when they put so called slicks on it when new lol,they still only had traction like a new cars skinny spare…

      Late 50’s Mopar’s are the best looking cars,better than Ford and GM..I just sodl a 58 Chevy 2 door hardtop someone put a 327 years ago,so I kept it..I have a 57 Ford Fairlane 500 (too bad its a 4 door hardtop,still a very nice car) I am rebuilding the engine right now,just painted the car…

      I will take a 55 – 58 Fury,Custom Royal and early 60’s Desoto Adventurer and Chrysler 300 over any GM/Ford of the late 50’s early 60’s.

      The Chrysler 300 was always a gorgeous car for its period !

      The late 50’s early 60’s GM products were the WORST,very unsafe and wimpy cars they crumbles when they hit a shopping cart..They would always just self destruct in demo derbies when hit by anything else,even a Studebaker !!

      The late 50’s early 60’s Chevrolet would lift off the ground at 65 mph ! The back end would seem like it lifts because of the style..My uncle a diehard GM guy owned a 59 Impala and he couldnt drive it on the highway…My Dad was a Ford guy then and laughed at it ,he even drove the damn thing,just utter trash !

      2+
  3. John D.

    Although, it looks to have the 426 valve covers on, I think you mean 413.

    9+
    • Ed P

      You beat me to it, John.

      2+
  4. JRP

    Good write up Brian. Your “eyesore” comment is the same way I feel. Its amazing how your opinions can change with a few years. That emblem on the steering wheel makes me think of a Miller High Life label. I’m more of a 2 door kind of guy but would drive this with a smile on my face, (after changing those wheels). I understand it’s a sorta restomod but the wheels don’t suit the body style. IMHO?

    3+
  5. Howard A Member

    I believe the seller means 413, as well, however, I read the 413 was not available in the Phoenix, which was kind of the low end car. ( actually a Dart Phoenix) Only a 318 was available. The biggest motor, according to Allpar, was the 383 2-4 bbl crossram on the D500 Dart Phoenix, which this car clearly is not. Still, this sure is a neat looking car, especially for a 4 door. The later model Plymouth wheels look great.

    8+
    • Dave Wright

      Howard, I thought the same thing but a 412 is a modified 361, they have ground the crank to lengthen the stroke. Nice looking car.

      7+
      • Howard A Member

        Thanks, Dave.

        5+
      • Ed P

        This would have to be a stroker engine then. The 361/383/400 were B block motors. The 413/426/440 were built on the RB block for a longer stroke.

        2+
  6. Todd Fitch Todd Fitch Staff

    Nice find Brian. I usually picture the next gen of the Phoenix which is a real ugly duckling, but I like this one, and pretty much all the ’57 to ’61 Mopars. The Apollo 11 dash alone is worth the price of admission. The only 412 I’ve ever heard of was a custom overbored 360 so I’m assuming the seller doesn’t know much about the car. I’m not a great Mopar engine spotter but it’s probably a 413. Similarly the “426” on the valve covers is interesting considering I doubt they would physically fit on any 426. Those stickers are like what a high school kid might do if they didn’t have an opportunity to spend 5 minutes on the Internet. Not sure I was aware of this variation of the Virgil Exner fin cars, though. Good find and well written!

    2+
    • Ed P

      Todd, there were 2 versions of the 426 motor. The first had conventional wedge heads. The 426 hemi came later.

      2+
    • JunkFixer

      It’s a B series engine with a RB series crankshaft. That increases the stroke and makes it 412 CID. The valve covers are of the Super Stock 426 Max Wedge variety, which would easily bolt onto most all B and RB series engines (they won’t fit the earliest 350B or early 361B).

      I once read a Car and Driver editor describe the Exner cars thusly: “The Exner styling was greeted with restrained ennui when new, but boy it sure rattles the retenas today!” Yup, I fully agree. This one looks like fun, possibly by the dumptruckful.

      4+
      • Todd Fitch Todd Fitch Staff

        Thanks, folks. Appreciate the clarifications!

        4+
  7. Dave Wright

    The forum is becoming a mutual admiration society for staff members…………

    17+
  8. jw454

    I like these wheels on other Mopar cars but, on this one they look like a black knee high leather boots under a Catholic school uniform skirt.

    8+
    • Mountainwoodie

      That would be a rice burner…………….

      2+
    • Neal

      What a cool car! Seems very reasonably priced for someone to get into a good condition running classic. (That Chrysler convertible that was in the auction here ended up going for quite a price!). I have really been enjoying learning about this generation of Mopar vehicles on this site.

      Couple of questions for those of you who might know:

      What are those “vent” trim pieces at the back of the roof in the corners right above the rear glass? Are they functional or just decorative? Looks like a troublesome spot for rust issues.

      Also, what would have been the correct wheels and tires for this rig? I am not against the rallye wheels (if that’s what they are called), just curious about original treatment.

      Would the original exhaust have been run low underneath the frame like that?

      If the push button transmissions didn’t have “park”, did one park it in neutral? Are they vacuum-operated? Are they troublesome or reliable?

      Someday, maybe.
      After I finish building this addition myself, after the kids are grown and out, after the garage is cleared, after I finally get an old scout to fix up and drive…

      Isn’t that how it goes?!?!

      Anyone in the Boston area have a classic that needs to be appreciated?

      Guess I need to go to some car shows in the meantime…

      1+
      • Ed P

        The push button control is mechanical. There are two cables to the trans. They were reliable when new. Anything other than plain steel wheels and wheel covers or hub caps would have been unusual.

        1+
      • Rocco Member

        @Neal,
        You asked: “If the push button transmissions didn’t have “park”, did one park it in neutral?”

        Yes. I’m not sure when manufacturers started putting park in transmissions, but in the old days you put the trans(stick or auto) in neutral and used the Parking Brake.
        Later when they added park to the trans, there were two cables, one for shifting and one for park, working simultaneously together.

        2+
  9. Miguel

    I don’t know why people get down on four doors.

    Today every high end car line has performance sedans and they sell much better than the two doors in their line.

    Are we snobs to look down on four doors of the past but embrace current four doors?

    5+
    • Mountainwoodie

      Like everything there are exceptions. I would have no problem driving this or the ’56 Chevy 4 door hardtop. Some two doors like the ChryslerDodgeDeSoto Business Coupe of the late forties are just about the ugliest cars on earth in my not so humble opinion. Lots of two door sixties Cadillacs and Lincolns are out of proportion to me. But again generally speaking I prefer the two door.

      2+
    • Rocco Member

      @Miguel,
      You are right about; “Today every high end car line has performance sedans and they sell much better than the two doors in their line.”
      That’s because the factories produce more 4-door front wheel drive (junk cars) than the 2-door type. Unless you have a deep pocket for a 2-door performance car. I still don’t understand why Dodge built all their Chargers as 4-doors. I don’t think there was a 4-door Charger in the ’60’s-’70’s. At least offer both versions if you have to build a 4-door to satisfy the brass & peanut counters. Don’t get me started on the PT Cruiser. When you sit in the drivers seat, unless you’re 5’2″, the door post is right beside your head, causing a blind spot. And still no 2-door Cruiser unless you you get an ugly ‘vert. Sorry, I just couldn’t resist.

      1+
  10. William

    I had a1960 Dodge Pioneer 2DHt slant 6 ,3on the tree in Salmon Pink red and white interior, back in 72. Never saw a Phoenix till a few yrs ago at a show

    3+
  11. Danny

    Love the car, hate the wheels. 4doors 4ever.

    1+
  12. Troy S.

    Black rims with chrome lug nuts and maybe little half moon hub caps with these tires would be my choice. I really like those 426 super stock valve covers even if it isn’t one, luckily.

    1+
  13. PAPERBKWRITER

    As a newly wed my big block Chevy conv. bit the dust and I wound up with ’60 Seneca that I drove for 2 years and 40k. Had to chock the wheels when parking since the driveshaft emergency was crap and with push button there was no park. That car got me on my feet (financially) and 2 years later I had a house and a paid for new Chevy Impala (manual) I paid $135 for that car…Later got a ’61 for my wife with a 360 cu that was a bear.

    1+
    • Rocco Member

      @ Paper,
      A ’61 what with a 360?

      0
      • Ed P

        361cid B block.

        0
  14. james burton

    looking closely at the eng. pic that it’s a rb eng. see the flat spot across from the dis. only rb blocks had that. that is were the eng. size and whether it’s a hp or not is stamped

    2+
    • james burton

      alt. bracket bolt is always in the last hole too on rb blocks

      1+
  15. lawrence

    buddy just sold one – nice – but in-op – $600…….

    1+
  16. erikj

    I like this ven though its a 4dr. It has style that just won’t stop. Every way I look at it-it has style!!! But those 71 rallys don’t belong on this car. I think I would have it with steelies poverty caps ,simple!!! nice car.

    2+
  17. Troy

    Being a Mopar collector,I actually drove one..Never bought it,but was close to it..Its a car that the more you look at it ,it draws you in lol..

    It was all original never touched and the 383 had alot of punch,would leave 2 black strips on the ground,like all late 50’s to 70’s Mopar’s (and others) they had tons of power/performance..

    I always cringe when they post old 0-60 and 1/4 mile times,man they dont know they tested them different then,plus the tire spin throws off the times..Makes it slower.

    2+
  18. Rob M.

    Very cool. I would drive the hell out of it.

    0
  19. Neal

    Sorry, I didn’t mean to post that twice!

    0
  20. Mitch Ross

    Wow, falling hard for this car. To me it is just right, especially the wheels. Kind of what I would have built if a relative had given me one of these when I was in high school in ’77. Get some wheels from the junkyard, fab a dual exhaust , buy a used intake and carb etc. I just love the look.

    0
  21. Ed P

    For 1960 Dodge issued the Dart line to compete with Plymouth! The Plymouth looked to much like the 57-59 cars and were outsold by the new (and better) looking Dodge Dart. My parents neighbor had a Dart Phoenix 2dr in white. He kept the car immaculate and it was very good looking. The Dart should have been a Plymouth but Chrysler was suffering from schizophrenia at the time.

    0
  22. Bob C.

    Despite their size, these cars were pretty light and said to perform well, even with the smaller engines.

    2+
  23. Otto Nobedder

    Whats the black diaphragm thingie above the master cyl? A brake booster?
    Does it move like accordian bellows?

    0
    • Ed P

      Power brake booster.

      0
  24. Charles G Van De Sampel

    What you’re all missing is the fact that the Dart line for 1960 was to have been a smaller bodied vehicle. According to two Dodge dealers of old (Ozzie Birkeland of Birkeland Dodge in Rock Island Ill, and Bob Drysdale of Drysdale Dodge in Streator, IL) the original Darts body panels hadn’t been finalized for the 1960 year, so aside from a fin modification and trim package change, Dodge used the body design of its 1960 Dodge Matador for the Dart line of vehicles. And many of the 318’s from the 1960 model year had overheating issues caused by a casting flaw. I grew up around these cars and even owned a few. The only thing I detested working on on any of these or my early 60’s Chrysler’s was the brake systems.

    0

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